Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’d like to remind you of the four listening sessions I’m hosting in our area today, April 15. From healthcare costs to transportation funding to families’ tax burdens, a lot of important decisions will be made at the legislature in April and May.
I want to hear from you about how these proposals will affect your everyday lives. It’s important that I understand your specific concerns in the coming weeks as I continue my efforts to lower healthcare costs; craft a responsible state budget that allows you to keep more of your paychecks; and address fraud and waste in state government. These events are open to the public, and everyone is invited to stop by to ask questions and offer input. I hope to see you there!
A detailed schedule of today’s events can be found below:
Cannon Falls City Hall Council Chambers
918 River Road, Cannon Falls
11:30 am -12:30 pm
Red Wing Ignite Building Community Room
419 Bush Street, Red Wing
Wabasha City Hall Council Chambers
900 Hiawatha Drive E, Wabasha
Lake City VFW
115 N Franklin Street, Lake City
Proposed Tax Increases
The House Democrat majority has finalized its omnbius budget bills to fund all areas of state government. These budget bills are set to be debated and voted on in the House by the end of April.
Although I’m hopeful we can make changes and improvements to these bills before they arrive at the governor’s desk, I’m concerned with the state they’re currently in. Atop my list of concerns is the huge tax increases that these bills rely on. Last Monday, Democrats unveiled their tax bill, which alone includes over $4 billion in tax increases over the next four years.
This represents a large portion of the eye-opening $12 billion in new taxes Democrats are proposing for the next four years. This massive tax hike is highlighted by a much-talked about 20 cent per gallon gas tax increase as well as a tax on nearly all healthcare services.
As we’re considering these hefty tax increases, it’s important to keep in mind that Minnesota still has a $1 billion budget surplus, meaning taxpayers have already paid in more than they should. In a time of such a healthy surplus, $12 billion in new taxes should be out of the question.
Republicans in the Senate have put forth a budget that makes investments in priorities without raising taxes by $12 billion. I believe this is a better approach and I’m hopeful we can work with them to avoid placing such a large tax burden on Minnesotans.
Last Tuesday, the House passed the hands-free cell phone use bill on an overwhelming vote of 107-19. At a time when Republicans and Democrats have major budget differences, it’s important to highlight the work we did together to improve this bill throughout the process as this issue has strong bipartisan support.
Distracted driving is an incredibly important issue and one I felt the legislature needed to take further action on. I believe this bill will make our roads safer and help save lives. Of the 16 other states with hands-free laws on the books, almost all of them have seen significant decreases in fatalities within the first two years.
The Senate also approved this bill and the governor signed it into law on Friday (takes effect August 1).
Staying in Touch
If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. I can be best reached at email@example.com or at 651-296-8635.
Have a great week,